Monday, March 19, 2012

News Item: Relics Found in Gettysburg! (and a new museum soon)

Did you really think that we know everything there is to know about the battle of Gettysburg, or have discovered every relic or manuscript with a link to the famous Civil War battle?  No, of course you didn’t.  The Hanover Evening Sun reports that construction workers found a treasure trove of artifacts while working on a remodeling project on a dormitory at the Lutheran Theological Seminary in Gettysburg.

The building, known as the “Old Dorm” is undergoing a 15-month remodel that will turn it into an interpretive museum.  The building had been used as a hospital during the battle.  Tucked into the walls were old worn out shoes from the 19th Century.  It was believed that putting old shoes between wall joists would bring luck.  In the ceiling, believed to have fallen through the cracks in the floor above, were several letters belonging to civil war soldiers.  Several bottles were also found.

The work is being funded with a $4 million grant from the State of Pennsylvania.  When the project is completed, visitors will be able to have access to the cupola, where Union General John Buford surveyed the opening moves of the battle, as portrayed by Sam Elliot in the movie, Gettysburg.

Monday, March 5, 2012

509th PIB Colors to go to the Airborne Museum

L-R: Kelly, Tomasik, and Katz in Naples,
1944.  Soldier on the balcony unknown.
Photo courtesy of Mike Reuter.

One of the great things happening since the release of “The Boldest Plan is the Best” is coming in contact with more veterans and their family members.  One example is my correspondence with Mr. Morton Katz over the past couple of months.  Katz was a lieutenant in, and the last adjutant of, the 509th Parachute Infantry Battalion.  It was his sad duty to oversea the turn-in of all of the battalion’s equipment and records after the unit was disbanded in February 1945.  Mort is now a retired colonel, and still practicing law in Avon, Connecticut.  I did not have the opportunity to interview Mort.  After the book came out, he got in contact with me.  I do wish I had met him during my research.

The other day I received a letter from Mort Katz with some big news.  His letter included a copy of a letter to him from the Army Center for Military History.  The letter is informing him that his request, through his congressman, to have the colors of the 509th Parachute Infantry Battalion donated to the Airborne and Special Forces Museum in Fayetteville, North Carolina, has been approved.  The colors are currently in storage at the Center’s storage facility in Anniston, Alabama.  They are in good condition, but will require some conservation treatment before they can be framed and transferred to the museum.  Therefore, an exact date for the transfer or information on any kind of ceremony is not available at this time.  So as they say, more to follow.

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